Thursday, 10 May 2018

Ancient Greek Life

This week we looked a little at Ancient Greek life - similarities and differences in schooling, and looked at what the Western world learned / gained from the ancient Greeks.

Kids had the choice to try some things from Ancient Greek schooling - the Greek alphabet (they were fascinated that 'alpha' and 'beta' are the first two letters and some letters are similar to our alphabet while some are very different); Greek art (decorating vases), Greek games, looking at Greek Myths. Some looked at Homer's Odyssey, some researched other aspects of Greek life.

We talked about the purpose of school today, and the purpose in Ancient Greek times. We compared Athenian education to education in Sparta. Some children were amazed to hear that in Sparta their schooling consisted of learning to fight, steal and lie! Quite different to our schooling thank goodness! Many of our current education subjects originated from links to Ancient Greek education (from Athens and other city-states - not Sparta!) - poetry, art, music, literature, maths, science etc.

We talked abot the pros and cons of different parts of schooling. One group discussed boredom at school and we came up with ideas for if we feel bored. We looked at reasons for feeling bored (if something is too easy, too hard, not interesting to you) and solutions (talk to someone - politely!- and ask for help / extension / new ideas), stretch yourself, change your mindset, use the opportunity to think, plan, imagine, dream etc. While I am not advocating for boredom, I feel that a certain amount of unstructured time can be useful for children (and adults) to allow us time to be creative and think. I really like this video of a young man who came to that conclusion about his schooling - that in order to think and create, he had to stop learning. Jacob Barnett was 14 when he gave this TED talk - he has autism and is extremely gifted. However, at several stages in his schooling he was 'stopped' from learning because he didn't follow the regular path and people didn't know what to do with him. I find his story and his amazing attitude really inspiring.  Hopefully schools can be more enlightened and help provide more effectively for our gifted students, but there is still hope even if students do not always feel provided for - they can learn from Jacob Barnett and use that time to start thinking and start creating.

The older groups were given the opportunity to have their say about the future of NZ education if they wished - I was impressed with how many were keen to do this. This survey is open to everyone - children and adults. It closes 31st May - so have your say if you wish.

Next week there is no Quest as I am away on a couple of trips - the chess interschools on Tuesday, and the Auckland Writer's Festival with some year 5&6's on Wednesday. Quest will be on as usual the following week. We will be looking at another Greek myth and beginning to think about creating our own myth.

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